The Chief Executive of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), HE Ausamah bin Abdullah Al Absi, highlighted that in April, in line with the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, the LMRA is supporting the private sector by suspended monthly work fees, as well as fees for issuing and renewing work permits for a period of three months.
HE Al Absi noted that the LMRA has further provided expatriate workers holding various work permits, such as the flexible work permit, the employer work permit (employment category), enrolled (family of an expatriate worker), and domestic workers, a grace period from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, to correct their permit status.
HE Al Absi added that between 01 April and 26 April, a total of 13284 permit statuses have been corrected, leading to a decrease in the number of incorrectly registered or undocumented workers within the Kingdom.
HE Al Absi noted that, as of 26 April, there have been 1909 registered COVID-19 cases among expatriate workers, of which 95.5% work for business employers, with only 1.7% on flexible work permits from the registered expatriate workers. The rest of cases are amongst expatriates with visit visas, enrolled visas, or house workers. 89% of the 1909 registered COVID-19 cases are among expatriate workers with legal permits, and 9% among workers with non-compliant permits, whilst 2% are amongst expatriates with visitor visas.
HE Al Absi emphasised that the LMRA has coordinated with businesses owners to provide additional housing for their expatriate workers to self-isolate in.
Currently, business owners have provided 59% of the total buildings being used for self-isolation, accommodating 7046 workers. Meals, medication and care continue to be provided, under the supervision of the LMRA.
On this note, HE Al Absi added that 42% of the buildings designated for self-isolation by expatriate workers are self-provided accommodation. These buildings are currently accommodating 2739 workers, with the Kingdom providing these individuals with food and medication. HE Al Absi noted that the Kingdom has provided 23,500 meals to expatriate workers over the past 5 days and that, since February, the LMRA has circulated 1,719,206 awareness brochures amongst expatriate workers, and 577,000 expatriate workers have visited the LMRA Facebook awareness page.
HE Al Absi highlighted that, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health, a comprehensive contact tracing plan has been developed to flag active cases and their contacts amongst expatriate workers, while clarifying whether their residences are owned by an employer or are self-provided shared accommodation. Meals are regularly provided to workers living in self-provided shared accommodation, and the relevant authorities continue to regularly visit these residences to log necessary public health information. The LMRA is also conducting outreach to businesses in order to record information on the expatriate workers, and to facilitate testing appointments for contacts of active cases.